No longer owned by Prescriptives but now handled by another Estee Lauder company, Clinique. Calyx is such a clever fragrance; I still don't understand how it works. It is brash, strong, fruity, sour; it should be horrible and yet it isn't. Compare Calyx with any Escada fragrance and you will understand ( a little ) why. There are none of the over ripe strawberry jam notes, nor the sickeningly sweet fake gourmand ones. The sweetness is balanced by the sour; the cat's pee calms down the synthetic fruits, and, overall, a wonderful Rose slowly reveals itself. For such a toppy fragrance it lasts a surprisingly long time; for such an apparently simple idea it is remarkably complex. It is a fragrance to make you smile, and I am so glad that it is still being promoted and sold. I was given a small sample when I bought some Clinique products recently. Sofia Grojsman is, of course, a genius.
I decided to revisit Calyx after trying it 15 years ago. The minute I applied it, I remembered what it was I didn't care for then - that melon note. I didn't like it then, that fakey mushy melon, and still don't. It's surprisingly the same, like time standing still. And it doesn't have effervescence or sparkle on my skin, just sort of lays there, which seems wrong...
Where the fruits and flowers thrive...
I can't help but bow before Calyx, and this is already a contradiction. Because Calyx is not an austere or exacting scent that makes you wanna pay your dues to its cachet or eminence. "Then why?" one could ask. Well, those of you who have not lived the magnitude of the '80s try to imagine this. In an era of dominating femme-fatale heavy-hitters, like Poison in 1985 and Loulou in 1987, which were huge successes and still are, Calyx came flying under the radar in 1986, dropping a mega bomb loaded with bliss and joy of life. Oh, and inventing a whole new genre too. I'm not sure if it's the fruity-floral, the floral-green or the fruity-floral-green one, but Calyx is made in Heaven! So my bow pays respect to a pioneer that happens to be an unbelievably good perfume too. What now seems to be the rule, was the exception back then. The rule was that fruits were shot on sight without further explanation. How many grande dames of the '80s could claim they had any prominent fruity notes, other than the occasional apricot or plum, included in their prima-donna vocal ranges? But while most of them were the distant divas frequenting the opera houses, Calyx was the dish from next door playing merry songs on her guitar in a subway station. And while the vamps, bedecked with diamonds and pearls, are sipping champagne and picking at salmon in the foyer, the imp is happy with a slice of pizza and a beer, whose pull tab wears as a ring after opening it. To cut a long story short, there are only two scents which put a big silly smile on my face every single time I sniff them. And maybe because of my preference for subway stations over opera houses, Calyx is one of them. It's the happy girl hopping around and giving you a flirty kiss on your cheek, among a bunch of aloof ladies, who demand a contract signed with your blood to just deign having their eyes laid upon you. It's a silvery sexy giggle among a clamor of elaborate erotic sighs. The lovely brat that every august matron looks daggers at and shoos. But only to move just a couple of steps aside, before she returns with her dulcet laughter filling the room. Don't get me wrong, I find all these '80s perfumes simply stunning and Bastet knows how much I love them, but it's like Calyx outshines them all because of being so different and daring. And just because these two traits are not always considered merits, maybe this was the reason that Calyx never got the fame it deserved; not back in the days, and to an even lesser degree now. But you know what? Who cares? This cunning tart surely doesn't, since I think I can see her winking at our direction, while singing tunefully "Who needs fame when she's happy?..."
Genre: Green Floral
Calyx opens with a blast of candied tropical fruit that reminds me of nothing so much as a big, fluorescent colored lollipop, and were it not for the scent’s high repute I might have dismissed it right away. The chemical fruit note persists, but softens over time to merge with a very smooth, milky green floral accord with the olfactory texture of a luxury hand cream. (Which given the Prescriptives cosmetic brand, isn’t so surprising.) That many lotions and shampoos are similarly scented does Calyx no favors, and it’s hard for me to shake the impression that I’m wearing a high-end bath product. Sillage and projection are limited from the start, and on me Calyx fades within two hours to a very soft fruit custard skin scent. Calyx ultimately strikes me as a pleasant scent but in the final analysis I don’t think it’s anything special. Menard's L'Eau de Ryokuei does the green floral thing much better (albeit more expensively), and for something a bit weightier and entirely sugar free, there's Nicolaï’s lovely Le Temps d’une Fête.
An aside: I wonder if Calyx has inspired Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s recent Celadon, which being drier and less conventionally fruity, is an easier fragrance for me to wear.
This is typical of the "fruity green floral" genre of scent.
Although Herman describes it as guava/grapefruit with neroli, rose and oak moss, the guava and grapefruit accord is not reflected in the 17 ingredient list.
It is quite pleasant as a melony green splash, but lasts only an hour on my skin; therefore the neutral review: poor silage, poor longevity, and although it may have been the first of this genre, it has so many rivals as to be unremarkable in comparison.